Taking a peek at Polaris

Amd Ces

AMD is moving to a 14/16nm FinFET process technology on its GPUs, that’s something we’ve known for some time now. But what exactly will it be and when? AMD’s next generation GCN architecture will manifest in Polaris, which is scheduled to arrive around the middle of the year.

That’s a long wait if you’re looking to upgrade right now, though AMD deserves credit for breaking tradition and giving us a heads up so far in advance. If you haven’t done so already, check out our Polaris coverage from earlier in the week.

One of the main benefits of moving to FinFET is that it helps with power leakage. We caught up with AMD at CES to talk more about this and Polaris in general. AMD had a pair of systems running side-by-side, one powered by Polaris and another running Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 950. The identically configured systems (save for the GPU) were plugged into a power meter to measure the wattage required to achieve 60 frames per second at 1080p. The Polaris system hovered around 85W while the GTX 950 system used about 145W.

What’s promising about the demo is that this is the first silicon based on Polaris. AMD will make revisions, both on the hardware and software sides, between now and release that could drive performance-per-watt improvements to over 2X compared to Nvidia.

AMD also talked about displays and how most of today’s panels are stuck at SDR and based on standards that are decades old. That’s true even of IPS panels. According to AMD, the next step is HDR, which has better colors and contrast ratios

Take a look:


Also of note is that AMD and its partners are bringing HDMI support to FreeSync. HDMI on its own isn’t able to process FreeSync information, so what AMD was write an extension to the spec, one that can be used with both HDMI 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 monitors.

What’s neat about this is that no special HDMI cable is needed, just a compatible Radeon graphics card, AMD’s Crimson driver, and a compatible display.


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